When it comes to fastening Ipe decking, there are a lot of factors to consider. It makes sense that with the amazing strength of the Ipe boards, you will want to fasten them as securely as possible. I am a big believer in screwing down Ipe deck boards - there is simply no stronger deck fastening method. Hidden deck fasteners truly have their place, which we will discuss in another article, but there is absolutely no substitute for the fastening power of an Ipe deck screw. Fastening Ipe deck boards with the proper stainless screws provides two major benefits; first, the stainless steel screws themselves will last as long as the durable Ipe decking and secondly, the screws firmly attach the deck boards to the deck joists, providing superior lateral bracing.
Lateral bracing means that the Ipe deck boards are holding the deck joists in place to prevent racking and movement. The deck screws form an incredibly powerful mechanical bond between the deck boards and the deck joists. Combined with the unparalleled physical strength of Ipe hardwood decking, attached to each deck joist by two screws, the strength of the entire system is far greater than the sum of its parts. Instead of the decking, deck screws and deck joists being individual structural members, working together, they become an incredibly powerful structural system. There is a Japanese proverb that says, “A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle”. In much the same way, a deck system shows greater strength than its individual components.
You can actually feel the power of Ipe decking. Imagine this; you are building two decks side by side, exactly the same way, using the same joists, same spacing, same fasteners, etc., but each deck uses a different decking material where one is made with Ipe decking and for comparison purposes the other uses, let’s say, composite decking. If you walk on these two identical decks, you will immediately feel and notice an amazing difference. The deck built using the Ipe decking will feel stronger, sturdier, safer and more stable. That is because of the structural strength differences between Ipe decking and the low structural strength rating of composite decking.
Just like the strength of Ipe decking, other high density hardwood decking materials exhibit similar performance based on their structural strength properties. Cumaru decking, Machiche decking, Garapa decking and Santa Maria decking all significantly outperform composite decking and plastic decking in terms of structural strength. The same can be said for other lower strength decking materials; the superior strength of high density hardwood decking materials clearly outperforms other wood decking materials such as pine, cedar and redwood decking. That's why architects and engineers often specify high density hardwood decking with screws for projects like boardwalks, bridges, walkways, decks and more. For the strongest and longest lasting deck system, you just can’t beat the solidity of high density hardwood decking fastened with deck screws.
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